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19 Jul 2013

Fire It Up! July 19th

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Here we go!  It’s another Friday AND tonight is the 3rd event of the “Wanna Throwdown” Series.  Each week the energy has gotten higher as we get closer to the final event.  More on the standings later.

Week in Review

This week’s programming incorporated some strength accessory work and interval training.  It was a great shake up from pure CrossFit style training of “For Time” or and “AMRAP” so that time domains and movements that normally may be neglected can get some attention too.

I know that many of you enjoyed the training with odd objects.  Though these parts of the workouts were not being measured, they do play a role is developing greater fitness and performance.  Keep an open mind with them and have fun.

This has been a really warm summer.  I cannot tell you how great it is to have the air conditioning so that we can keep the training intense and not have to worry about if the floor is soaking wet from sweat and humidity.  When we were in the old space on Terrace Street, I would have to alter the programming just on account of safety.  Audrey has reminded me every time she comes into the gym.

“Wanna Throwdown”

Tonight is the 3rd event of the “Wanna Throwdown” Series.  This event will also be the tryouts for Coach Pat’s Renegade Rowing Team.  Thus far the standings are shaking out as follows:

Women’s Scaled
Sophie H – 6 points
Isle B – 7 points

Men’s Scaled
Lukas K – 11 points
Vadim S – 13 points
Shirtless Bob – 16 points

Women’s Rx
Cori B – 2 points
Anli J – 7 points

Men’s Rx
Keith C – 4 points
Dennis T – 5 points
Sean T – 11 points
Jose R – 13 points

The race for first is tight in all of the divisions.  At this point it’s still any person’s race.  I expect the competition to get more fierce.

What’s on Tap

Here is this upcoming weeks programming:

Saturday 7/20
1. Heaving snatch balance – 6×3
perform 5 L-sit pull-ups between sets

2. Tabata Push Press, 75/55
rest 1 minute
Tabata Sit-ups

Sunday 7/21
1. Thruster – 45%/5, 55%/5, 65%/3, 75%/max reps and then back down

2. AMRAP6 – Complete as many reps in 6 minutes – Power Clean, 135/95

3. 10 minutes of midline work

Monday 7/22
1. Complete every minute on the minute for 30 minutes
5 chest to bar pull-ups
8 push-ups
12 sit-ups

2. 12 minutes of handstand practice

Tuesday 7/23
1. 3 Touch and Go Cleans – build up to a 3 rep max

2. Run 3 x 200m – 1 minute cap

Wednesday 7/24
1. Push press – 45%/5, 55%/5, 65%/3, 75%/max reps and then back down

2. Complete 3 rounds for time…
20 Front rack barbell lunges, 95/65
15 Unbroken overhead swings, 32kg/24kg

Thursday 7/25
1a. Bent over row – 6×6 (go heavier than 7/16 or as heavy as possible)
1b. Handstand push ups – 6×3 (greatest range of motion possible)

2. Complete as many rounds as possible in 10 minutes of this ascending ladder

5 unbroken double unders
2 chest to bar pull-up
10 unbroken double unders
4 chest to bar pull-ups
15 unbroken double unders
6 chest to bar pull-ups
20 unbroken double unders
8 chest to bar pull-ups

40 unbroken double unders
16 chest to bar pull-ups

Rx – double unders must be unbroken

Friday 7/26
Partner WOD – Complete for time
Row 5k
10 Burpee Box Jumps, 24″/20″

While partner 1 performs 10 burpee box jumps, partner 2 begins the 5k row. Once the 10 BBJ’s are finished the partners switch. Partner 2 then performs 10 burpee box jumps and partner 1 continues on the 5k row.

Continue switching back and forth until the 5k is complete for time.

Get after it!  Be sure to be hydrating.  During these hot days its not a bad idea to weigh yourself before class and again after to see how much weight loss occurred due to sweat.  Then consume approximately 16 ounces for every pound lost.  This will keep you feeling great and your performance high.


17 Jul 2013

Do You Shop Organic?

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What is Organic?

“Organic” means the food was produced with agricultural methods that facilitate cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and maintain biodiversity. Organic production does NOT involve pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, or genetic engineering.

Organic Labeling

There are a few ways organic foods can be labeled. Foods that are made with all organic ingredients can use the USDA Certified Organic Seal And can claim “100% organic” on the front label. Foods made with 95% of organic ingredients – by weight, excluding water and salt – can use the claim “organic” and also display this seal. Foods that are labeled “made with organic ingredients” contain at least 70% organic ingredients. The can be listed on the font label and in the ingredients list but the organic seal cannot be displayed on the product. The below image provides a quick glance at organic labeling.




According to a review conducted in Brazil, some organic foods had slightly better nutritional content and durability, but more studies are needed to determine whether or not they are actually superior. (Sousa AA, Azevedo Ed, Lima EE, Silva AP. Organic foods and human health: a study of controversies. Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2012 Jun;31(6):513-7.)

Another review, this time looking at the safety of organic versus conventional foods, found that there is not strong evidence that organic foods are more nutritious compared to conventional ones, but they may reduce the exposure to pesticides and antibiotic resistant bacteria. (Smith-Spangler C, et al. Are organic foods safer or healthier than conventional alternatives?: a systematic review. Ann Intern Med. 2012 Sep 4;157(5):348-66)

I also found a review conducted in Germany that focused on organic versus conventional dairy. The study added data from the last three years to an existing pool of data and found that organic dairy products are higher in protein and omega-3 fatty acids and have a higher omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acid ratio than those of conventional types. Typically, the Western diet is high in omega 6 fats and low in omega 3 fats, but a higher omega 3 to omega 6 ratio is thought to reduce inflammation and risk of heart disease. The authors suspect that these results are due to the differences in the way organic and conventional dairy cows are fed. (Palupi E, Jayanegara A, Ploeger A, Kahl J. Comparison of nutritional quality between conventional and organic dairy products: a meta-analysis. J Sci Food Agric. 2012 Mar 19. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.5639. [Epub ahead of print])

A study on the environmental impact of organic farming found that organic systems had lower nutrient losses and energy requirements but had higher nitrous oxide emissions and required more land than conventional farming. Most studies did show less environmental impact from organic farming than conventional farming.(Tuomisto HL, Hodge ID, Riordan P, Macdonald DW. Does organic farming reduce environmental impacts? – A meta-analysis of European research. J Environ Manage. 2012 Sep 1;112C:309-320. [Epub ahead of print)

And finally, there is the now infamous Stanford Study. Published a few weeks ago, this review of studies on conventional versus organic fruits and vegetables found that organic produce wasn’t overall any more nutritious or any less of a health risk than conventional produce, although it did lower the risk of pesticide exposure.(Smith-Spangler C, Brandeau ML, Hunter GE, Bavinger JC, Pearson M, Eschbach PJ, Sundaram V, Liu H, Schirmer P, Stave C, Olkin I, Bravata DM. Are organic foods safer or healthier than conventional alternatives?: a systematic review. Ann Intern Med. 2012 Sep 4;157(5):348-66.)

Basically, what all this tells me is that organic produce has its benefits – like that it is more sustainable, better for the environment, and contains less pesticide residue. But this doesn’t mean eating conventionally grown foods are bad for you. While a conventional apple may have more pesticide residue than an organic one, it is still far below the level that the Environmental Protection Agency deems unsafe.

My Advice

Focus on eating more fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables overall, no matter how they are grown. If you can afford to buy every single item organic, and are inclined to do so, then obviously this is ideal. BUT, if you’re on a tight budget, don’t lose sleep over it. The health benefits of eating more fruits and veggies far outweighs the risks brought on by the amount of pesticide or bacteria on the item. Especially if you wash it well.

Now, if you want to start buying some organic foods, I suggest starting with milk and dairy, since research HAS shown organic dairy to be nutritionally superior. Next, move on to the fruits and vegetables known as the “dirty dozen”, which are basically items with either thin or edible skins that are most likely to transmit any pesticides on to you. These are:

  • Peaches
  • ApplesPeaches
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes


Finally, I’d like to make one last point about organic foods. A lot of people associate the word “organic” with “healthy”, but this is NOT always the case. For example, organic cane sugar is no better for you than normal cane sugar, and a brownie made with organic sugars and nuts will add just as many calories and sugars as a brownie made with conventional items. When you choose an organic item, except for dairy, it should be because you want to choose something produced with a lower environmental impact and less pesticides, not because you are looking for a “healthier” or “more nutritious” food.

What’s your take on organic foods? Must have, or waste of money?

17 Jul 2013

Week 2 of “Wanna Throwdown”

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Wow! How do you guys like all this grip work? Yesterday we did some farmers carries, and then on Friday we did some more farmers carries. You must hate what’s going on with your forearms right now. Speaking of last Friday, that was a pretty awesome showing from all of you guys. We had 23 athletes going head-to-head, and everybody put up some great scores.

Here are the top three from last Friday:

Scaled Women

  1. Isle B.
  2. Sophie H.
  3. Meg A.

Rx Women’s

  1. Cori B.
  2. Anli J.

… and that’s it for Rx women!

Scaled Men

  1. Lukas K
  2. Kevin D.
  3. James P.

Rx Men

  1. Dennis T.
  2. Keith C.
  3. Jason W.

Great job everybody. I don’t have the cumulative scores from Week 1 and 2 yet, but I’ll have them for this Friday’s throwdown. don’t forget that even though you have missed a WOD in the series doesn’t mean that you can’t compete in any of the upcoming WOD’s. It’s a great time, and a great way to go test what you’re really capable of. A competitive atmosphere will bring out your best! So I’d love to see more of you out there. Just remember that it’s not over ’til it’s over. Holla

Are you ready? It’s Friday baby and it’s time to Fire It Up! My wife likes to tease me that my favorite word is “excited” and that I say it all of the time. She may be correct but it is an accurate description of how I feel each and every day coming into the gym. Friday’s even more so.

Don’t forget that tonight there is no 6:30pm class. We will be kicking off round 2 of the Wanna Throwdown series at CFBIG. It is sure to be a fun one start your weekend on the right foot! No spoilers here, you have to be there at 6:30 if you want to get the news.

All of us coaches were discussing yesterday how much fun this week has been. Y’all have been hitting the WODS with some extra intensity and its been great coaching such full classes. Keep up the hard work it will continue to pay off dividends.

This next week is not going to get easier. Be sure to be hitting your mobility as hard as you are your training. You can watch some great tips from the Supple Leopard himself to prep for next week here.

What’s on Tap

Friday 7/12
Jerk – work up to 80%/2(3)

Complete reps of 20-15-10-5 for time…

Sumo deadlift high pull, 135#/95#
Hand release push ups

Saturday 7/13
Complete 5 rounds of the following AMRAP 5
5 Pull-ups
10 Push-ups
15 Squats
Rest 3 minutes between rounds

Sunday 7/14
Complete 5 rounds for time…
5 Deadlift, 275#/185#
25 AbMat sit-ups
1a. Good mornings – 4×6 (AHAP)
1b. Hanging leg raises – 4xMax

Monday 7/15
Complete every minute on the minute for 20 minutes…
2 clean + 1 jerk @ 75%
Perform 3 rounds for max reps of each round
1:00 Box Jumps, 24″/20″
1:00 Row (Cal)
1:00 Double unders
Rest 1:00

Tuesday 7/16
Bench press – 50%/5, 60%/3, 70%/3, 80%/max reps and then back down
1a. Bent over row – 4×6 (AHAP)
1b. Dips – 4×6 (AHAP)

2. 2 x 500m weight carry 45#/25#

Wednesday 7/17
Run 3k
Rest 10 minutes
Complete for time…
75 Double Unders
60 Sit-ups
45 Calories on the air dyne
30 Burpees
15 Pull-ups

Thursday 7/18
Complete every minute on the minute for 15 minutes…
2 snatch @ 72%
2 rounds for time…
200m Overhead walking lunges 45#/25#
150′ hand over hand weight pull

Friday 7/19
Back squat – 50%/5, 60%/3, 70%/3, 80%/max reps and then back down
3 rounds, each for time…
500m row
50 Wallball shots, 20#/14#

10 Jul 2013

How Do You Prepare Kale?

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Up until this year I was not the biggest fan of kale. But since it started showing up in my CSA every week, I figured out what to do with it.  Here are 3 of my favorite kale recipes. How do you prepare/cook kale?

1. Kale with dried apples



Kale w/dried apple pieces

1 Bunch fresh, raw kale

1 TB olive oil

1/3 cup 100% pineapple juice

1/2 cup dried apple rings, chopped

Wash and chop kale, remove and discard the large stem from the center. Heat olive oil over medium heat and saute kale until wilted. Add pineapple juice and dried apples. Simmer 2-5 minutes.

Kale is a nutrient rich green vegetable, and makes a great side dish for your chicken, beef, or fish. Raw kale can be on the more bitter side (depending on whether or not you’re a bitter taster), which is why it’s often added to smoothies and juices, although some enjoy it as part of a salad. This recipe adds a little sweetness and makes 2-3 servings.

2. Kale and fruit smoothie

This smoothie will be bright green and delicious.


1 cup raw kale

3/4 cup  milk (I used 1% organic cow’s milk)

16 chunks Trader Joe’s frozen mango

Blend milk and kale first until completely liquid. Add frozen mango and mix until blended.

3. Collard greens style

I originally made this recipe using collards, but since then I’ve used Trader Joe’s Southern Greens, beet leaves, and kale and it’s turned out great every time.


Collard greens served w/ pulled pork

Collard greens w/pulled pork

1 large bunch of raw greens

4 slices uncured bacon

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Remove the leafy part of the greens from the hard stem in the center, and shred into 2 inch pieces. Cook the bacon over medium heat until done, remove and set aside. Discard or set aside all but 1 TB of bacon grease. Cook onion and garlic in bacon fat until onions are translucent. Add greens and stir in until cooked down. Then add spices, broth, and bacon chopped into bite size pieces. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add cider vinegar and simmer another 3-5 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

09 Jul 2013

“Wanna Throwdown” Update

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I hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend. Long weekends usually bring a lot of travel along with plenty of rest and relaxation. Look at these breaks from the gym as a form of recovery, whether it be physical or mental or both. I have been seeing a lot you coming in and giving it your all 4,5 and 6 days a week. Allowing your body to recover from this stress is paramount, so don’t feel bad about missing a few days of working out. After all, it is long-term fitness we are looking for right?

With that said, this Friday is the return of the “Wanna Throwd0wn” throwdown. We had a great showing for the first event, and had a lot of people hit some awesome PR’s on their cleans… which is especially awesome after that first brutal 6 min WOD. This week’s WOD won’t see any PR’s, but I can definitely promise you that is going to be spicy!

Last week, we didn’t ask participants to  denote whether they were competing in the scaled or Rx’d division, but this week you will need to make that decision. That’s not to say that you can’t compete with those that are going prescribed, but from here on out everyone will be working with different weights.

The top 3 place standings after the first event are as follows: Men’s 1) Dave Young 2) Kieth Craig 3) Nick Ditto  Women’s 1) Cori Bernardi 2) Alex Black 3) Hannah Woodstock.  Congratulations everyone! Just remember that there are 3 more events, so keep up the hard work. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at this Friday’s event. If you weren’t able to make the first throwdown, don’t fret. You are still able to compete this Friday and the following Fridays as well. If you have some free time, please come help cheer on everyone competing this Friday and enjoy some tasty beverages afterwards.

Fire It Up Baby!  The grill that is.

The celebration of this great country’s independence has come and gone.  Yesterday was a blast with more than 50 members, friends, and guests honoring departed CrossFit Boston member Glen Doherty.  Many stayed for quite a few hours afterwards to partake in some good food and drink and even better conversations.  I really enjoy spending time with members in this environment as it often one of the few times where no one is rushing to work or other responsibilities.  If you couldn’t make it this time, I hope you block out time for our next one!

4th of July Glen

CrossFit Hope for Cures

Tomorrow we will be running multiple heats for the CrossFit Hope for Cures fundraiser.  Classes will begin at 9am and finish at noon.  Show up at that top of the hour you wish to attend and Coach G2 will assign you to a heat.  There will be a computer designated for any contributions members and guest may want to make on behalf of CrossFit Boston!  We appreciate everyone’s efforts in working to make a difference.

What’s on Tap

This upcoming Friday, July 12, is going to be the second WOD of our “Wanna Throwdown” series.  It is going to be a good one so look for the link to register for your heat in Monday’s post.

We are continuing on our strength cycle with max reps, pushing higher percentages this month.  It has been great seeing members getting after those max rep sets and raising the bar.  Keep it up.

Conditioning will continue to be constantly varied with a slight bias towards some additional aerobic endurance work.  We will also be posting some homework to be completed outside of class time if and when you have the chance.  The gymnastic focus this month will be on pulling movements and you will see it emphasized in skill work as well as in the warm-ups.  Try to arrive 5-10 minutes before class to mobilize so you don’t miss out on all of the good stuff.

Here is the upcoming week of programming:

Sunday July 7
Strength: Overhead Squat – 40%/5, 50%/5, 60%/3, 70%/max reps then go back down

Metcon: 5 Rounds for time
15 Overhead squats, 155#/115#
15 Knee to elbows

Monday July 8
Metcon: Complete each round for time
Row 2k
rest 3 minutes
Row 1k @ 2k pace -:05
rest 3 minutes
Row 500m @ 2k pace -:10

Strength Accessory: 1a. Weighted strict pull-ups 6×3 (AHAP)
1b. Glute ham raises 3×15

Tuesday July 9
Strength: Deadlift – 50%/5, 60%/3, 70%/3, 80%/max reps and then back down

Metcon: Complete reps of 21-15-9 for time of…
Deadlift @ 40%
Handstand push-ups

Wednesday July 10
Strength: Front squat – 45%/5, 55%/5, 65%/3, 75%/max reps and then back down

Metcon: “Fran” – Reps of 21-15-9 for time of…
Thruster, 95#/65#

Thursday July 11
Metcon: Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 25 minutes…
20 Swings, 24kg/16kg
15 Ball Slams
10 Glute ham sit-ups

Metcon: Complete 5 rounds
Run 1:00
Rest 1:30

Friday July 12
Strength: Jerk – 45%/3, 55%/3, 65%/3, 75%/3, 80%/2(3)

Metcon: Complete reps of 20-15-10-5 for time…
Sumo deadlift high pull, 135#/95#
Hand release push-ups

**6:30PM – Throwdown WOD #2**

04 Jul 2013

“Glen” and The 4th of July

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Glen Anthony Doherty

July 10, 1970 – September 12, 2012

Glen Doherty was one of four Americans killed in a terror attack in Benghazi, Libya.  Glen died in the attack against the United States Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 12th, 2012.  Although the attack began on September 11th, Glen fought hard throughout the night and saved many before succumbing to a mortar attack in the early hours of September 12th.  Glen died serving with men he respected, protecting the freedoms we enjoy as Americans and doing something he loved.  He is an American Hero to those who did not know him;  but for those who did he is a best friend who leaves behind a giant hole in our hearts.

~courtesy of The Glen Doherty Memorial Foundation



I had the pleasure of knowing Glen.  I was lucky to call him my friend.  Glen was a member here at CrossFit Boston back in the days when we were in Roxbury Crossing.  See the smile in that picture?  That was the same smile Glen brought with him every day to the gym.  I can still recall one day when he came in and we had just finished “Nancy” with a mid day class.  Glen was grinning his grin and made a comment that he was tired.  I poked at him that the WOD wasn’t really all that bad.  He replied, very casually, it was a long night and explained that he had just returned from saving some “important people” that were in trouble in foreign lands.

That was Glen.  He performed a job that very few could perform and he was one of the best.  He didn’t seek glory or fame.  It was just what he believed in.  As his time with us in Boston was coming to an end I remember him stopping into my office and presenting me with a present.  It was a framed quote from Teddy Roosevelt.  It read:

“It’s not the critic who counts. It’s not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled. Credit belongs to the man who really was in the arena, his face marred by dust, sweat, and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs to come short and short again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming. It is the man who actually strives to do the deeds, who knows the great enthusiasm and knows the great devotion, who spends himself on a worthy cause, who at best, knows in the end the triumph of great achievement. And, who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and cruel souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

I still hold dear this quote as it has guided me in challenging times.  I like to think that Glen knew it would be a staple in my years to come.

Today we honor Glen with the workout that CrossFit has produced in his name.  I have completed it once previously, with less than stellar results.  I am looking forward to tomorrow and putting it all on the line once again for Glen.  For what he believed in.  For my friend.

4th of July

During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia declaring the United States independent from Great Britain.[4][5] After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4.

~courtesy of wikipedia


03 Jul 2013

The Argument for Seasonal Foods

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Nutritional value Fruits and vegetables have the most nutritional value (i.e. vitamins and minerals) when they are ripened on the stem and then picked. However, when they come from places far away, they are picked before ripeness and ripen along the way. So while they may gain color and size, they won’t gain nutritional value. This is one reason many people argue that fruits and vegetables don’t have the same nutritional content as they did 50 or 100 years ago.

Cost Seasonal produce is often cheaper for two reasons. For one, it grows more naturally in season and so requires less labor intensive care. Second, it often comes from a source closer to home. It’s easy to find USA produced strawberries and cherries in the summer for instance, but in February they all come from Mexico or Chile, which also adds the cost of transportation and gas to your grocery bill.

Flavor and Taste Fruits and vegetables taste better when they ripen on the stem versus in the back of a refrigerated truck. Buying seasonal produce means you get the most flavorful and tasty produce.

Sustainability This is a big buzz-word lately. But buying local, seasonal produce cuts down on the environmental impact of shipping food several thousand miles. It will also support your local farmer, keeping him in business to continue producing delicious fruit and vegetables.

What’s in Season When? Right now it’s summer, which means cantaloupe, cherries, corn, summer squash, champagne grapes, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, key limes, peaches, and strawberries to name a few. In addition, apples, bananas, celery, lettuce, carrots, onions, cherry tomatoes, and lemons among others are available year round. Visit the Fruits and Veggies: More Matters website for a complete list of spring, summer, fall, winter, and year round vegetables and fruits.

Find a Farmer’s Market! Nearly every city and town in America now has a farmer’s market. You can do a Google search or visit the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Marketing Service Web Page for a searchable directory of farmer’s markets. Just enter your zip code and search!

I hope everyone has a great 4th of July weekend and enjoys some delicious seasonal foods!